The current speed is now displayed with 302 km/h. Taking the world’s fastest bullet train ride and second longest high-speed train connection feels more like flying than a train ride. You got rows of 3 chairs on the left and 2 chairs on the right, an aisle in the middle with stewardesses passing by, selling some sort of noodle soup and drinks. For the distance of 1380 km from Shanghai Hongquiao to Beijing South the bullet train needs little under 5 hours.
The main area in Shanghai is the amazing Bund, a 5 km long stretch along Huangpu river, that has old colonial hotels, the most visited shopping street in China aka Nanjing Road on one side and one of the most recognizable skylines in the world on the other side.
Sitting right on the perch of the skyline is the Oriental Pearl Tower. Whoever designed or planned it surely has received a huge pay raise, as it is definitely one of the most unique buildings in the world. Despite its function as a TV and radio station, it offers multiple restaurants, an exhibition hall and various platforms for exhilarating 360° views. Usually that’s the basic program for a building that wants to compete in the ‘world’s tallest building’ list as a major tourist attraction, BUT the Oriental Pearl Tower has something else. I never came across anything quite like it before. There is a freaking rollercoaster high up inside the skyscraper. Now let that sink in! Rollercoaster – inside – skyscraper! These are words you would not use in a sentence together.
Usually I love to visit cities more than once over the years, because I’d like to see how it has changed or explore more or see stuff I haven’t seen yet. But now I have the definite reason and urge to comeback to Shanghai very soon. Apparently the rollercoaster was in maintenance during my visit. Tough! But riding a rollercoaster in a skyscraper went directly on my Bucket List.
Wherever you are going in Shanghai, make sure you pay good attention to the traffic. It is that extreme. People driving around nuts, using the horn all night is a classic for asia, but you wouldn’t expect motor bikes driving on the sidewalk in all sort of directions, as well as drivers horning at other drivers for stoping at red light. I was used to the crazy traffic in Phnom Penh when I lived there in 2011, but the traffic here was a crazy, chaotic surprise.
Shanghai is a nice city to explore. It is easy to get around by subway or if you are already near People’s square – walk! Be prepared for security checks at every subway station. Just like at the airport you and your bags get screened. It gets pretty annoying when there are a lot of people waiting to go through, but on the sunny side – you’ll feel even more safe. Some must sights to check out are the Yuyuan gardens, which means ‘Garden of Happiness’ and are beautiful chinese gardens with pavillons in between and a lot of local restaurants around that area. Another highlight of Shanghai are the french quarters or French concession. It is an more relaxed area with nice vibes to stroll around and check out hip boutiques and cafés. This area is the reason why shanghai is called Paris of the Far East.
In the end I want to say that I originally planned to spend New Years Eve in Shanghai, but because of better flights I booked Beijing – Dubai, hence I stayed NYE in Beijing. I was shocked to hear about the stampede at Shanghai’s Bund, where 36 people lost their lives and many more were injured. My thoughts are with their friends and families.